The event, attended by over 180 members of the University community, honored Boston College's senior tenured African-American faculty member, who is relinquishing full-time teaching duties after 28 years at the University.
"He has been a mainstay for the African-American community on campus for a long time," said Affirmative Action Director Barbara Marshall, who helped organize the event. "He was the first African-American professor on campus to receive tenure, and as a consequence he has served as a mentor to all black faculty and administrators who have arrived since then. He has been very helpful in enabling others to survive on campus, eagerly sharing his wisdom."
"I've spent the better part of my life here and have tried to counsel my students and fellow faculty members, and they have been appreciative," said Smith, who will teach part time next year. "They tell me I've kept their feet to the fire, which I hope will continue to burn after I leave."
Assoc. Prof. Charles Smith (SOE)Smith joined Boston College in 1968 as an instructor of social studies methods and director of the Teacher Corps Program, which was part of a national effort to train graduate students to teach in urban areas. He developed and directed the Urban Education Program, Boston College's
"When I arrived here there were no tenured African-American faculty," he said, "but I chose Boston College because I thought if anyone was going to make an impact in the Boston public schools, it was going to be someone from Boston College, because more leaders in those schools had degrees from Boston College than any other institution."
Smith hopes the University will continue addressing the need for AHANA faculty after his departure. "The University is committed to social justice, and the Jesuit and Ignatian mission of helping future generations," he said. "That is what I feel this institution is designed to do and should do."
Smith has long been active in national professional organizations and recently was elected to the board of directors of the National Council for the Social Studies' Fund for the Advancement of Social Studies Education. Last year, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities created a lecture series in his name.
He has also been a leader in the Newton community as vice chairman of the Black Citizens of Newton and by playing a key role in developing the Black Teachers Association of the Newton Public Schools.
In addition to the congratulations of his colleagues, Smith received letters from numerous public officials, including President Bill Clinton, Senator Edward Kennedy and Gov. William Weld.
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